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Green Smoke Hardcover – December 31, 1975
The Amazon Book Review
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A family vacation in Cornwall becomes a magical journey into the past when Sue meets R. Dragon, master storyteller and lover of sugar buns. In return for sharing her "elevenes," Sue hears tales of King Arthur, Childe Roland and Mollie Whuppie. Sian Phillips reads with as much magic as R. Dragon tells stories. Her interpretation of the characters leaves the reader with a clear impression of each. This charming story whets the appetite for more tales springing from the mists of the past. The book is a wonderful choice for 8 to 11-year-olds as well as anyone who loves Arthurian lore. L.S. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It's a very simple story (or maybe series of stories?) in which a girl called Susan meets a dragon while on holiday in Cornwall. Her parents are content to let her explore the beaches and caves by herself, so most days she manages to sneak off and visit him (usually taking a bun or some biscuits to mollify the eccentric creature). He either takes her to see something or else tells her a tall tale, and that's pretty much it.
There isn't much in the way of action or adventure here, but the charm of the book lies in the dialogue between Susan and the dragon. It's beautifully quaint (sometimes laugh-out-loud ludicrous) and raises a big smile on pretty much every page. The dragon happens to be a charming, very cultured dragon who learned his manners at the court of King Arthur. Occasionally - like an old scholar recalling the wildness of his undergraduate days - he notes with regret the fact that he used to devour maidens.
Re-reading it as an adult, there's definitely a lot less plot than I remembered, but like I say - every page managed to raise a smile. It's a very (wonderfully) old-fashioned book, and worth picking up if you want to be transported back to a happier time - when children could explore beaches by themselves, and a bun could buy you a dragonback ride to Tintagel Castle!